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Old 01-02-2021, 01:03 AM   #1
darjama
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Default reaMIXed: The Reaper Mixing Contest - January 2021 **Now With Stars!**

REAPER CONTEST - January 2021
(ONLY REAPER PLUGINS ALLOWED)



OFFICIAL WEBSITE: reaMIXed.com


MIXING: 2-15 January
VOTING: 20-26 January
RESULTS: 28 January
FEEDBACK: 29-31 January



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The reaMixed contest rings in the new year with a change in format.
Instead of voting for the top 3 mixes, we'll be asking you to give a rating out of five stars. This comes out of the result of survey from November, and I think the contest will be better for it.

This month's song was selected by TinyTortoise, last month's contest winner. The track is Much Too Much by Bill Ashton, performed by Selwyn Jazz. one of Cambridge University's longest established and most respected big bands. Please note that though there is a Reaper project file available for these tracks at the Cambridge Music Technology web site, I'd ask that you start fresh and not use that to get going.

You can download the multitrack from the website or clicking on this link.

Again, no prize this month, aside from the customary track-picking privileges for the next month's contest.


Happy mixing!
-Daryl

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Old 01-02-2021, 02:49 AM   #2
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Hey guys, I'm new here and joining for the first time. I have been trying to mix for a few months now and I feel that this is an opportunity to learn as much as possible.

Looking forward to all your mixes
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Old 01-06-2021, 10:28 AM   #3
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Default Clarification/Help

Hey Guys (and Gals?),

After the CRAP that I turned out in the last contest I decided to do a little research and so I downloaded the project files and of course (as you do) the first one I loaded up was Tiny Tortise's entry.

I just loaded it up, had a look around (without adjusting anything) and ran the track with an instance of YouLean on the Master Buss at the end of the effects chain. Here's a snippet so you can see what I'm seeing...

Capture.JPG

My question is...I always go for -1.0 True Peak and I know that this is the rules for the contest. So what exactly am I missing here?

Mind you...I'm not on about calling anyone out for cheating...rather wondering what is wrong with my Reaper set-up that I am seeing this, or what's wrong with the way I'm using YouLean?

I spend a MAJOR amount of time trying to get my Masters to hit AT or Below -14.0 LUFS AND hit at or below -1.0.

Is it ME? Is it YouLean? Is it the way I have Reaper set up? What do you all think is the issue here? I'm sure that the tracks came out all at or below the Targets, though admittedly I didn't check that on ANY of them but my own during the Mastering process.

Anyway...and and ALL thoughts, ideas, suggestions, etc would be WELL appreciated and go a long way towards nailing down my problems for the future. After the last contest, I honestly feel like a beginner again...and I'm not opposed to trying just about anything to get things better under wraps! So thanks in advance for any and all advice or responses!
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Old 01-06-2021, 10:40 AM   #4
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Contest rules are peaks shouldn't exceed -1 dBFS. You don't need to worry about True Peak.
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Old 01-06-2021, 01:25 PM   #5
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Contest rules are peaks shouldn't exceed -1 dBFS. You don't need to worry about True Peak.
OMFG...okay I always assumed that it meant True Peak. Does it then mean that on the render dialogue the peaks don't past -1db then?

This will save me literally HOURS of fiddling around to hit what is sometimes an unobtainable (or seemingly so) goal!

I also discovered the differences in pan law settings and since I generally like to use SSL plugins and I have an SSL interface I have chosen to set the pan law to -4.5db for the center channel like an actual SSL console.

Immediately I notice a lot of difference in stereo separation, and I can hear the FX much better. Amazing the amount of difference in what is a seemingly small change.

I would add however that I wouldn't want to make this change mid project as it changes a lot of things.
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Old 01-06-2021, 02:08 PM   #6
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OMFG...okay I always assumed that it meant True Peak. Does it then mean that on the render dialogue the peaks don't past -1db then?
Yeah, that's right, keeps that part easy.

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I also discovered the differences in pan law settings and since I generally like to use SSL plugins and I have an SSL interface I have chosen to set the pan law to -4.5db for the center channel like an actual SSL console.

Immediately I notice a lot of difference in stereo separation, and I can hear the FX much better. Amazing the amount of difference in what is a seemingly small change.
Cool, I've played around with pan law a bit, but not for a while. I'll give that a try.
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Old 01-08-2021, 02:49 AM   #7
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FWIW I download and normalize everything before I listen and vote, and TinyTortoiseís mix still came out at or near the top for me.
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Old 01-08-2021, 06:04 AM   #8
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FWIW I download and normalize everything before I listen and vote, and TinyTortoise’s mix still came out at or near the top for me.
I voted for it as number 1 as well. However while I download all tracks and import them into Reaper to listen and use some analytics, I don't normalize as I want to see what each rendered file is and that seems like editing before the fact to me. I have to say however that tracks are generally similar in volume.

I wasn't accusing him of anything. I simply wanted to see how I could do better. Imagine my surprise when I loaded it up and saw what I THOUGHT was a rule broken!

I'm actually relieved to find my mistake through exploring his mix/project.

I won't even try to pretend that I understand the creative fx buss on the drums. Even with the explanation, and turning it on and off in the project while playing...I have basically NO IDEA WTH is going on there...but I like it. However because I don't understand what it's doing or why, I won't be trying to include it in any of my mixes.

I was most interested in seeing what was done with compression, grouping, fx and of course gain staging. Since nothing was peaking at all...I knew I had found one place that I could improve.

I also watched a video on setting up a mixing session by Mixbus TV on YouTube that further reinforced that my gain staging SUCKS!

I have a lot of work to do!!!
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Old 01-11-2021, 01:59 PM   #9
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A few more days left to mix, how's it going?
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Old 01-11-2021, 02:29 PM   #10
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A few more days left to mix, how's it going?
My mix is up! Right?
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Old 01-11-2021, 02:39 PM   #11
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I gave it a lot of time but I'm still not satisfied with the mix. I'm not really new to music, but I have only mixed like 5 songs altogether as a hobby. I also didn't choose any reference, which I know is a mistake.

Anyway, I'm not giving up yet but it seems that everything I do now is only making it worse as I don't really know what exactly is wrong and what to do with it.

I guess I should keep it simple now and try to find some last minute reference track.
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Old 01-12-2021, 12:42 AM   #12
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My mix is up! Right?
Yup, I've got yours.
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Old 01-12-2021, 08:09 AM   #13
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I have just sent my file... and now I will go right to the Cambridge Music Technology web site to look for the project file that we shouldn't have used beforehand. Iīm sure I will regret all my decisions as soon as I check it.
Anyway, this is what I have found most challenging in these tracks:
- trying to match the two vocal tracks
- the volume of the horns when playing solo parts
- the drums, as always; unable to get the sound that I wish

Thanks tinytortoise for giving us the opportunity to enjoy this song.
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Old 01-12-2021, 11:51 AM   #14
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A few more days left to mix, how's it going?
Havenít started. Itís gonna be a rushed mix this month...again...sigh.

Is there any chance you might consider extending the mixing time in future months? From my perspective it seems like thereís often a bit of downtime in the latter half of the month that could be used for mixing instead. Maybe not in Feb because itís a shorter month, but maybe after that?
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Old 01-12-2021, 12:43 PM   #15
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Immediately I notice a lot of difference in stereo separation, and I can hear the FX much better. Amazing the amount of difference in what is a seemingly small change.
If you do this to an existing mix, it changes all of your balances. Anything panned away from center will be louder (in a relative sense), so yeah itíll make a difference. If you do it before starting a mix, youíll compensate naturally and without even noticing. It might help you get to the same spot more quickly, but it wonít suddenly make all of your new mixes come up that much wider.
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Old 01-13-2021, 11:15 AM   #16
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A few more days left to mix, how's it going?
Just submitted mine, hope everything is in order.
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Old 01-13-2021, 01:56 PM   #17
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Just submitted mine, hope everything is in order.
Got the file, I'll be checking them in starting Friday.
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Old 01-14-2021, 01:35 PM   #18
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Submitted my files.

Looking forward to try the new voting system.

Thanks for the contest, darjama.
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Old 01-14-2021, 01:40 PM   #19
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Looking forward to try the new voting system.
YEahhh!
My too! I am looking forward to seeing it!
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Old 01-14-2021, 02:15 PM   #20
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Not sure I'll get mine done on time. I got thrown a curve ball this month in the form of a contest for mixing metal for $25,000 in prizes thru Produce Like a Pro (Warren Huart).

That has taken a lot of my time.
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Old 01-14-2021, 02:21 PM   #21
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Anyway, this is what I have found most challenging in these tracks:
- trying to match the two vocal tracks
- the volume of the horns when playing solo parts
- the drums, as always; unable to get the sound that I wish
One is a scratch vocal and it only really has use as a fattener and for the alternate note taken at the end of the song for harmony. This can be accomplished thru automation of course. I'm betting that some didn't use it at all. I basically buried it just beneath the main vocal so it was barely noticeable.

As for the horns the bone does a solo, I just automated it to come up. No biggie there.

Drums is different. Most guys know how to make metal drums sound good but get lost when they can't use sample replacement and paid plugins. I would suggest downloading the project files of folks who's mixes you like and see what they did to learn what you may be doing wrong.

Of course, monitoring is always a good place to start. If you are listening on crappy computer speakers or headphones you may never hear the stuff you hear on a great monitor solution I'm a properly treated room.

However, this has been a crazy month and I have had another contest for prizes rear its head, so I don't think I'll get around to finishing my mix in time. But I plan to vote regardless!
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Old 01-14-2021, 04:13 PM   #22
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Havenít started. Itís gonna be a rushed mix this month...again...sigh.

Is there any chance you might consider extending the mixing time in future months? From my perspective it seems like thereís often a bit of downtime in the latter half of the month that could be used for mixing instead. Maybe not in Feb because itís a shorter month, but maybe after that?
Yeah, I can look at revising the schedule for longer mix time. I don't want to steal time from voting, but I can take a day off the end of the month and a day out of my pre-voting prep.
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Old 01-14-2021, 09:43 PM   #23
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I have just submitted mine. I would have liked a bit more time but it is what it is.

I have never mixed anything like this. In fact this is only the 2nd time that I mixed horns and the first time was the last mix we did but this is even more.

I don't really have anything to reference to. I do have a couple of big band CD's but they do not have vocals.

Not sure how i will vote on this as it would seems so much based on taste of opinion of this one but I guess we will see. It could be difficult.

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Old 01-15-2021, 03:07 AM   #24
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To be honest, the reason I chose a big band track for this month was because it felt like the perfect time--partly as (hopefully) an extension or contrast with any mixing ideas each of us might have taken from last month's track; partly because big band was/remains something of an intimidating genre to work with, for me personally.

Outside of the Reaper Contest and ReaMIXED, I've had pretty minimal experience working with brass, and nowhere until now placed quite so front and centre. But I figure these forum contests are at the end of the day fairly low-stakes, which makes it a great environment to experiment and learn, above anything else. So hey, why not?

Looking forward to seeing how everyone went (and very curious to see the new rating system in action)
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Old 01-15-2021, 06:14 AM   #25
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To be honest, the reason I chose a big band track for this month was because it felt like the perfect time--partly as (hopefully) an extension or contrast with any mixing ideas each of us might have taken from last month's track; partly because big band was/remains something of an intimidating genre to work with, for me personally.

Outside of the Reaper Contest and ReaMIXED, I've had pretty minimal experience working with brass, and nowhere until now placed quite so front and centre. But I figure these forum contests are at the end of the day fairly low-stakes, which makes it a great environment to experiment and learn, above anything else. So hey, why not?

Looking forward to seeing how everyone went (and very curious to see the new rating system in action)
Small version of Big Band lol! You made a great choice as far as I am concerned. I had to chuckle at the big band comment. This isn't quite so Big Band. The style is that for sure...but with a 6-piece horn section not so much.

I have run sound for whole orchestra's and some of the Big Band's I worked with (live, not in the studio mind you) have 10-piece horn sections or bigger.

You learn really fast that the magic live is to use LP and HP judiciously! Also panning is essential to get things to find their own space in the mix.

Also mic choice is seminal to getting the sound captured right. I use SM57 type mics for small horns and for the ones with low frequency range I use floor Tom or kick drum mics.
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Old 01-15-2021, 09:26 AM   #26
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Small version of Big Band lol! You made a great choice as far as I am concerned. I had to chuckle at the big band comment. This isn't quite so Big Band. The style is that for sure...but with a 6-piece horn section not so much.

I have run sound for whole orchestra's and some of the Big Band's I worked with (live, not in the studio mind you) have 10-piece horn sections or bigger.

You learn really fast that the magic live is to use LP and HP judiciously! Also panning is essential to get things to find their own space in the mix.

Also mic choice is seminal to getting the sound captured right. I use SM57 type mics for small horns and for the ones with low frequency range I use floor Tom or kick drum mics.
I don't understand your 'chuckle' over the big band comment. Look up most big bands back in the day and they were 16-18 pieces typically. Count Basie's big bands were this size.

I'm not sure what tracks that you downloaded from the rest of us, but I'm quite positive that I hear more than 6-piece brass on this. If you look at the picture of the band, there are 16 people in the band. I hear multiple horns on one microphone on some. Not sure what you hear. Just because there are 6 mic's for brass doesn't mean 6 players. Maybe they didn't have enough mic's or mic preamps.


The band:
drummer - 1 person
bass player - 1 person
piano player - 1 person
guitar player - 1 person
singer - 1 person

11 others remaining

So that is 5 people there not including the brass. What are the other 11 people doing? Maybe...brass

Yup normal average big band (10 brass and bigger). By traditional standards, not a small big band.

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Old 01-15-2021, 09:30 AM   #27
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To be honest, the reason I chose a big band track for this month was because it felt like the perfect time--partly as (hopefully) an extension or contrast with any mixing ideas each of us might have taken from last month's track; partly because big band was/remains something of an intimidating genre to work with, for me personally.

Outside of the Reaper Contest and ReaMIXED, I've had pretty minimal experience working with brass, and nowhere until now placed quite so front and centre. But I figure these forum contests are at the end of the day fairly low-stakes, which makes it a great environment to experiment and learn, above anything else. So hey, why not?

Looking forward to seeing how everyone went (and very curious to see the new rating system in action)
I'm not complaining. I think it is good as this is something that I would normally never have done. So at least I can now say that I do have some experience in mixing a 'Big Band'. What makes it complex is dealing with the technical issues that I can hear on how it is recorded. But I'm sure that this would be a real world scenario anyways in dealing with these types of things. I can imagine that setting everything up proper is not easy when it comes to recording a big band.
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Old 01-15-2021, 04:51 PM   #28
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Um... I submitted a pretty bad 'mix' (not sure I can even call it that), I'm not sure I should have - mainly because I don't want to waste peoples' time. I only ran into this thread a couple days ago so really couldn't get much going... But, I figured I spent some time on it and that maybe it'd be worth posting what I had, good or bad, like, the more the merrier... If that's not the case, please, feel free to let me know.


A couple things I want to mention/ask:

-One is, I forgot that I had a non-stock Reaper plugin in the project. I actually had a couple more, and then at the last minute remembered that rule, so I changed those to stock ones. But I forgot about one. Not sure what this means for me. It wasn't intentional...


-The other has to do with the original vox track: in places the recording had this kind of nasty distortion, such as at the end of a couple phrases on the "ch" sound in the word "much," in "love you much too much." I think the worst place was where the vox was the loudest. The distortion sounded like what you get when you have a low-quality MP3 file, that 'pixelated', phase-y, warbly, low-bit sound.

I'm wondering if anyone recognizes what I'm talking about, and whether you know what the cause is? I'm thinking it might be a too-hot recording signal, resulting in, not clipping, but some kind of aliasing? Or whatever, some kind of mis-processing...

In general, I found the quality of the vox track (recording) to be pretty...not good. Is that true, was it a sub-par recording? Or maybe typical? I don't have any experience with this - I've never tracked a live vocal in digital...


I think that's pretty much it. I can see how it'd be really fun to work with big band, jazz material. There's a kind of 'core competency' nature to it, where you really need to focus, have a handle on, the very basics of music and mixing... I appreciate the opportunity to deal with it. Thanks!

Last edited by eq1; 01-17-2021 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 01-15-2021, 09:18 PM   #29
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I forgot that I had a non-stock Reaper plugin in the project. I actually had a couple more, and then at the last minute remembered that rule, so I changed those to stock ones. But I forgot about one. Not sure what this means for me. It wasn't intentional...
I won't be checking files in until Sunday, but is the non-stock Reaper plugin a JSFX? If so, please send me the JSFX file. If not, please send me a link for a new file without that plugin.
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Old 01-16-2021, 11:32 AM   #30
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Um... I submitted a pretty bad 'mix' (not sure I can even call it that), I'm not sure I should have - mainly because I don't want to waste peoples' time. I only ran into this thread a couple days ago so really couldn't get much going... But, I figured I spent some time on it and that maybe it'd be worth posting what I had, good or bad, like, the more the merrier... If that's not the case, please, feel free to let me know.


A couple things I want to mention/ask:

-One is, I forgot that I had a non-stock Reaper plugin in the project. I actually had a couple more, and then at the last minute remembered that rule, so I changed those to stock ones. But I forgot about one. Not sure what this means for me. It wasn't intentional...


-The other has to do with the original vox track: in places the recording had this kind of nasty distortion, such as at the end of a couple phrases on the "ch" sound in the word "much," in "love you too much." I think the worst place was where the vox was the loudest. The distortion sounded like what you get when you have a low-quality MP3 file, that 'pixelated', phase-y, warbly, low-bit sound.

I'm wondering if anyone recognizes what I'm talking about, and whether you know what the cause is? I'm thinking it might be a too-hot recording signal, resulting in, not clipping, but some kind of aliasing? Or whatever, some kind of mis-processing...

In general, I found the quality of the vox track (recording) to be pretty...not good. Is that true, was it a sub-par recording? Or maybe typical? I don't have any experience with this - I've never tracked a live vocal in digital...


I think that's pretty much it. I can see how it'd be really fun to work with big band, jazz material. There's a kind of 'core competency' nature to it, where you really need to focus, have a handle on, the very basics of music and mixing... I appreciate the opportunity to deal with it. Thanks!
Was that the Overdub, scratch or both?

I didn't notice it on the Overdub which sounded more present (almost too) to me.

I'm still learning to mix , though, so I don't always notice these things.
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Old 01-17-2021, 01:52 PM   #31
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I won't be checking files in until Sunday, but is the non-stock Reaper plugin a JSFX? If so, please send me the JSFX file. If not, please send me a link for a new file without that plugin.
Here's a link to a new file without the non-stock plug-in. It wasn't a JSFX: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AskciUu3eSuSgRHe...Mx70z?e=4HzJfx

Let me know if you have any problems with this download, I haven't used this 'one drive' storage thing very much...
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Old 01-17-2021, 02:02 PM   #32
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Was that the Overdub, scratch or both? I didn't notice it on the Overdub which sounded more present (almost too) to me. I'm still learning to mix , though, so I don't always notice these things.
It was the 'overdub'. I don't recall hearing it on the 'scratch' version, but probably only because I barely listened to that at all...

I have very little experience with vocal tracks, but I thought/think the vocal track is pretty thin (like there's zero low-end/body), it has distortion, has 'clumsy' dynamics or something, perhaps due to a bad performance or technique or mic-type/quality or recording parameters??, among other things. Not really sure. But I'm pretty sure it simply wasn't a very good recording/track, like someone went home and recorded the track in their bedroom, over night, with a rough copy of the 'back-up' music... I've done better tracks myself, with a 4-track tape player.

[Later...] There's a couple long, detailed articles on SOS of tracking the Selwyn Jazz band, I'm pretty sure this must be where the 'Much Too Much' material comes from. Here's a link to the first part of the two-part article:
https://www.soundonsound.com/techniq...yn-jazz-part-1

Here's an excerpt that talks about the vocals. If this is indeed more or less the story of 'our' material, it might have something to do with the quality of the vocal track:

"Both vocalists were soon happy. Abtin's takes went without problem, but Emily was suffering from the mother of all colds, and this made it very difficult for her to nail all the notes in a single pass: her voice was audibly straining at times. By punching in a few overdubs of these notes and phrases, we achieved a passable result, but we all decided that overdubs at a later date, when Emily's voice had returned to full strength, would be preferable... About 10 days after the session, Myles [the drummer and one who asked Mike to help track the band] got in touch to let us know that Emily's voice had returned, and Hugh sent the required stereo MP3 cue mixes for Myles to use when re-recording Emily's vocal overdubs with his own system." [emphasis added]

So, Mike and his SOS team did most of the tracking - except vox. Maybe we got the recording Myles made. Or, maybe we got one of the earlier takes - when the singer had a cold. Probably the former, if anything... Or actually, maybe the 'scratch' vox was one of the early takes - when the singer had a cold!

Last edited by eq1; 01-18-2021 at 02:06 AM.
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Old 01-19-2021, 05:34 PM   #33
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^ Even though it doesn't look like anyone's interested in this 'vox track' thing, I figured I'd follow-up with a bit more info (observations), in case someone, at some point, finds it as interesting as me...

I listened to the 'scratch' track a little more closely - and it's obvious this is one of the recordings from when the singer had the cold. What's more - and what's interesting to me - is that, though the performance is miserable, the recording itself it quite a bit better than the 'overdub' track. There's a lot more meat on the bones in the scratch recording - nice, thick, warm upper bass/lower mid-range... No distortion, either...

Somewhere in that SOS article about tracking the band, there's a tidbit about how the drummer (the person who did the vox recording) tuned his snare higher to make it sound more like what he had heard on recordings. When it came time to track, the snare sounded thin - so they had to re-tune it, to bring back the punch and warmth. This vignette sounds a lot like what could have happened with the vox recording, like, 'let's make this vocal really shine, we don't need this low-end stuff': insert high pass filter...
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Old 01-20-2021, 01:54 AM   #34
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Okay, voting is live. Let me know if I broke anything.

https://reamixed.com/vote/
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Old 01-20-2021, 03:17 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darjama View Post
Okay, voting is live. Let me know if I broke anything.

https://reamixed.com/vote/
Should I be able to download all the files at once? If yes, it is not working for me.
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Old 01-20-2021, 04:06 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kavacs View Post
Should I be able to download all the files at once? If yes, it is not working for me.
Try right click and save Link As. Worked for me.

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Old 01-20-2021, 07:49 AM   #37
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What javiramallo said. I'm not sure why it doesn't work without the right-click, I'll look into it.
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Old 01-20-2021, 09:16 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darjama View Post
What javiramallo said. I'm not sure why it doesn't work without the right-click, I'll look into it.
I guess the download link has to be secure as well as the domain, so it's just missing the 'https'.

https://portswigger.net/daily-swig/c...on-https-sites

Sorry for off topic guys..
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Old 01-20-2021, 11:21 AM   #39
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Yup, that was it, fix will go live shortly.
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Old 01-20-2021, 03:35 PM   #40
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The normalization functionality in the voting page is wonderful to be able to hear all the tracks at the same volume. It helps a lot to judge fairly.

Thanks for that Daryl.
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